My unforgotten Mentor and Teacher of the Pure School of Classical Equitation

Until his death in May 2004, Egon von Neindorff was one of the last keepers of the ‘Grail’ of Classical Equitation, which he referred to as ‘the Pure School’.

His equestrian training was initially undertaken by his father, and later by well known equestrian experts such as Felix Buerkner, Richard Waetjen, Ludwig Zeiner, Otto Loerke and also Alois Podhajsky. After the War, Egon von Neindorff moved to Loerrach where he set up a riding school with the horses he brought with him from Saxonia, and organized one of the first competitions after the Second World War.

In 1949, Egon von Neindorff and his horses moved into the now listed Riding Institute in Karlsruhe. Until 1954, he competed exceptionally successfully, and subsequently, he concentrated exclusively on training and teaching Classical Equitation. The festive displays which were held annually since 1954, mirrored the teaching at the Riding Institute and clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of correct training methods. Instructors from all over the world sent their students to Karlsruhe to further their training.

The Institute placed great emphasis on ethical and moral values such as a certain etiquette and good manners shown to each other and also the horses. Furthermore, mutual respect, modesty, courtesy, a clean and tidy appearance, and most importantly, self-discipline sometimes bordering on self-sacrifice, were considered important virtues.

Equitation or the Art of Riding means to cultivate the movement of the horse with as little effort as possible, Egon von Neindorff stipulated. Students at the Institute were taught the perfect seat, and in conjunction with nearly imperceptible aids, the horse was brought into balance under the rider. As a result, it was able to carry itself in all the gaits and through all the movements. The horse was never reduced to being a mere recipient of orders, it should wait for the rider’s instructions out of its own volition and be happy to give its best. The horse was considered a partner, and not a piece of sports equipment.

Egon von Neindorff was awarded the German Federal Service Cross and the German Riders’ Cross in Gold. He was ‘always on duty’, as he himself used to put it. Only a few hours before he died on 19 May 2004, he was busy doing what he loved – training his students.